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What Does Your Mug Type Say About You?

No matter where you’re from or what you sip, it’s likely you have a favorite kind.

November  9, 2020
Photo by Ty Mecham

Ever wondered why every mug on the BYO-mug shelf at your office (remember that place?) looked so different from the others? Why your pink collapsible carry-as-you-go sat next to an enamel camping mug, which in turn rubbed rims with a hand-painted asymmetrical one... and so on.

Turns out it isn’t just what’s in our mugs (a very boozy hot chocolate for me at the moment, if I'm being honest) that speaks volumes of our tastes and preferences, it’s also what holds them that’s revealing. Because, no matter where you’re from or what you sip, it’s likely you have a favorite mug type. I know I have mine—chubby (but not too chubby that I can’t cradle it between my palms), a bold handle shape, often textured, always handmade.

And there are other things our mugs say about us, beyond how they look or the motivational mantra they sport. Are they made of recycled material, travel-friendly, dishwasher-safe, self-heating? What does that say about our lifestyle, need for comfort and convenience, and the types of beverages we like to drink? And how do they make us feel?

At Food52, we take our mugs very seriously: seriously enough to dedicate a whole week to them. To celebrate Mug Week, our annual mugs-travaganza, we asked nine mug lovers in our midst to pick the one mug—in the 52-deep, limited-edition line-up—that best expressed their personality and mood.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“mug comes from a place on Vancouver Island called Westholme tea. @margitnellemann makes the most beautiful mugs, teapots, teacups etc. You should really check her stuff out!”
— Melanie P.

Grab a hot beverage, scroll through, and find a favorite to call your own.

We're calling dibs on these

Maker: From Fran Photo by Ty Mecham

"For me, mugs will always be about how they cradle in my hands—this handle is so inviting and cradle-able. I also love Fran’s delicate, fanciful designs."—Kristen Miglore, Founding Editor & Creative Director, Genius

Maker: Sandbox Ceramics Photo by Ty Mecham

"At home, I like my textiles rich, and my ceramics minimal, so I immediately gravitated towards this mug for its crisp lines and its matte color. It's simple enough to use everyday but still graphic and distinctive in an understated way. It's also the perfect size for palm-cupping... very necessary in colder weather."—Arati Menon, Senior Editor

Maker: L & M Studio Photo by Ty Mecham

"This off-kilter, wobbly mug is just how I feel before I pour my first cup of tea or coffee in the morning. I love its sky-blue color, with a few wispy clouds swirling by."—Emma Laperruque, Food Editor

Maker: Cheyenne Mallo Photo by Ty Mecham

"This wild and wonderful mug by Cheyenne Mallo evokes so much in my mind: the Cubist artists Duchamp and Picasso in particular; a topographic map; a Rorschach test. It caught my eye immediately, and not just because of the little red arrow pointing to the rim as if to say, 'Hey, coffee here!'"—Brinda Ayer, Editorial Lead.

Maker: Lucy Park Photo by Ty Mecham

"I always gravitate towards diminutive mugs with no handles. I love to cradle warm beverages in my (always cold!) hands, and the small volume these mugs hold means my coffee/tea won’t cool before I can drink it all. Also, no handles are more space-efficient."—Allison Bruns Buford, Test Kitchen Director

Maker: Jeremy Ayers Photo by Ty Mecham

"This mug transports me to two of my favorite places: It has a real nautical flag vibe to it, which makes me think of summers on Cape Cod, and the geometric shapes remind me of my favorite espresso mug from a recent (but not recent enough!) trip to Italy. Plus, blue and white are as classic as color combos get!"—Patrick Moynihan, Senior Social Media Manager

Maker: ANK Ceramics Photo by Ty Mecham

"I have a small-but-mighty mug collection, and I reach for the same ones morning after morning for their heft and perfect latte sizing. I love this one for the same reason, but also for its elegant forest and seafoam green (it almost looks tie-dyed), and its Scandinavian-inspired handle."—Caroline Mullen, Assistant Editor

Maker: Golden Ratio Clay Works Photo by Ty Mecham

"I’m particularly drawn to this mug because of the interesting proportions in the handle-to-mug relationship. I also love how the beautiful purple glaze parts to reveal more of the moody black underglaze just peering out from the rim."—Alexis Anthony, Art Director

Maker: Utility Object Photo by Ty Mecham

"This mug is so simple and so bold at the same time! I love how the painterly black line contrasts against the warm speckled surface. Plus it’s a great tall size so it holds a lot of coffee."—Aja Aktay, Home Buyer

For that Monday-Morning Coffee Spill

Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker
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Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker

Choose your holiday adventure! Our Automagic Menu Maker is here to help.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Monica
  • olivephowl
  • Rebecca Parry
    Rebecca Parry
  • Melanie Poulton
    Melanie Poulton
  • tom
Arati Menon

Written by: Arati Menon

Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.


Monica November 29, 2020
Can you please post the names of the artists that you collaborated with. We can support them especially since we didn’t get our paws on the mugs.
olivephowl November 9, 2020
My favorite is from the grand ole opry gift shop! It's huge and says "ambition" over and over in different colors. Some mornings I need all the ambition I can get.
Rebecca P. November 9, 2020
Bone china is my go-to. Sorry to see nothing of that sort here!
Melanie P. November 9, 2020
My fav. mug comes from a place on Vancouver Island called Westholme tea.
@margitnellemann makes the most beautiful mugs, teapots, teacups etc.
You should really check her stuff out!
tom November 9, 2020
Disappointed no enamel tin cups. That’s my go to.